Thursday, May 1, 2008

With This Ring I Do Thee Insure

As a relatively recently married man, I remember well the vast array of concerns and issues that revolved around both the decision to get hitched and the process itself. One factor that did contribute somewhat to our decision was the fact that my wife had health insurance through her work at a major university. As a freelance writer and blogger, I did not.

While for us it was a tertiary concern, a recent study shows that a small but significant percentage of the population base their decision to marry on the issue of health insurance. Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar of The Houston Chronicle shares the results of this intriguing survey:

In a poll released Tuesday, 7 percent of Americans said they or someone in their household decided to marry in the past year so they could obtain health care benefits via their spouse.

"It's a small number, but a powerful result, because it shows how paying for health care is reflected not only in family budgets, but in life decisions," said Drew Altman, president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, which commissioned the survey as part of its regular polling on health care.

Now as I said, it was one factor among many for my wife and I. Not a deal breaker or deal maker, but worthy of consideration. That said, I know two couples that did finally decide to tie the knot because of health care and insurance issues. A situation that is vexing to say the least. Maybe I am just a romantic at heart, but I do not think that health care should have to be a factor when deciding whether or not to purchase a wedding ring.

It's not just marriage that is being impacted either:
The survey found that the costs of health care outranked housing expenses, rising food prices and credit card bills as a source of concern.

Of those surveyed, 28 percent said they had experienced serious problems because of the cost of health care, nearly tied with 29 percent who had problems getting a job or a raise.

The state of health care in the United States is truly at a crisis point. What this nation needs is health care reform, and we need it now.

SOURCE: "Poll: 7% of Americans marry for health insurance" 04/29/08
photo courtesy of babasteve, used under this Creative Commons license

1 comment:

  1. I understand where people are coming from. I live in Massachusetts, the state of mandatory health insurance and not always so affordable. I know about 3 couples who got married for health insurance,I am not as much of a romantic as most and consider a marriage to be a building block for financial wealth. Two people together can build a very impressive portfolio and makes life easier. I am lucky that my bf's company is out of Australia, so in turn they are very progressive and consider a "domestic partner" as either same or different sex as long as you have common concern and share your life together. So I was lucky enough to be able to get on his insurance for a very modest amount each month.


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